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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

XXIII

POST-WAR
AUSTRIAN WRITERS

Of the Austrian writers of our period Hofmannsthal,Rilke,
Schnitzlcr, Hermann Bahr, Kafka, Franz Werfel, Wein-
heber arc so markedly international and have had so pro-
found an influence on German literature taken as a whole that
they have been dealt with in their appropriate place as pioneers of
new movements. Others have been fitted in with their fellow-
craftsmen over the frontier; see Austrians and Viennese writers
in the Index, The Austrians grouped in the present chapter have
specifically Austrian qualities, but they are of course read outside
of Austria*

ROBERT MUSIL (1880-1942), a native of Klagenfurt who lived
in Vienna, tanks as the most systematic exponent of magic
realism; in other words he is in the same category as Joyce
and Proust, He began with a psychopathic novel, Die Verirrungm
des Zoglings TSrhss (1906), of which the central theme is the ripening
of a boy after the onset of puberty. The Novellen of Veninigung
(1911) and Dm Prawn (1^4) foreshadow the coming influence of
Freud: they explore the impact of remote atavism on the ultra-
refined eroticism of our own day and show that morality rooted
in custom is ever on the brink of primitive urges* He toiled for
twenty years at his masterpiece, the waves-of-consciousness novel
Dtr Mam ohm Eigwschaftm (Vol. iť 1931; Vol. 2,1943; a fragment
of the third volume was published in Switzerland after his death).
This magnum opus was rewritten several times; and, though it runs
to over 2000 pages, it was still unfinished when he died suddenly
at Zurich, where he had found asylum after the Anschluss. Though
by his technique of Doppelbodigkeif and his msUntklkr Widerspruch
(there are two sides of everything and truth is only achieved when

50*